By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
The midsize pickup field has been whittled down to just two players for 2014: the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma. The very capable 2014 Frontier offers a more powerful V6 and its entry-level model comes with a more spacious King Cab as standard fare. As an alternative to a full-size pickup, the Frontier offers impressive power and tow ratings. However, as some newer full-size trucks now beat the Frontier's fuel economy and towing, the Frontier's smaller footprint becomes its most appealing selling point. A look at some of the Frontier's features give a clue that this truck is designed more for recreation than as a heavy hauling work truck. From its spray-in bedliner to its advanced navigation and infotainment options, the Frontier is designed to be rugged, comfortable and affordable.
If you're looking for a tough and affordable truck with serious off-road credentials, but you don't have the space for a full-size pickup, the 2014 Nissan Frontier is the perfect solution. Tow-rated up to 6,500 pounds, the Frontier can pull more than most crossover SUVs.
Big jobs still require a big truck. The Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 have more power and get better gas mileage than the Frontier, although they also cost a fair bit more. Those seeking a simple regular-cab truck will have to look to the Toyota Tacoma.
New standard features for the S trim with automatic transmission include Bluetooth, cruise control and air conditioning, while heated cloth seats are made standard on PRO-4X and available on the SV. Three new wheel options, upgraded audio and navigation, and a sliding rear window on all Crew Cabs except the S trim round out the changes for 2014.
Driving Impressions As a daily driver, the 2014 Nissan Frontier holds its own against the Toyota Tacoma and drives as well as most truck-based SUVs. However, the Frontier's ride does become noticeably...harsh when it encounters rough pavement and unpaved roads. When equipped with the 4.0-liter V6 the Frontier feels strong and confident, offering up plenty of power for passing or pulling, even at high speeds. The V6's fuel economy, on the other hand, didn't impress us, especially in around-town driving where we averaged about 15 mpg. Inside, we found the Frontier's cabin quite comfortable, with a well laid out dash and firm seating. Unfortunately, the large exterior mirrors produced more wind noise than we'd have liked. For those looking to take their truck off-road, the Desert Runner package offers 4-wheel drive and Bilstein performance shocks, while the PRO-4X brings additional skidplating and a locking center differential.
This helpful feature comes with the navigation system and provides up-to-date information regarding traffic, weather and even points of interest. The new Apps feature allows integration with an iPhone or Android smartphone, further expanding the system's capabilities.
UTILI-TRACK BED-CHANNEL SYSTEM
Keeping objects from falling out of the truck bed is always a good idea, which is why we love the available built-in Utili-track system. With adjustable tie-down cleats built into the bed, the system can be configured to hold all manner of cargo or equipment.
The 2014 Frontier's cabin is versatile and comfortable. King Cab models feature a pair of small, forward-facing rear seats with storage bins beneath, while Crew Cab models have a 3-row bench that's comfortable enough for adults. The King Cab has easy rear access thanks to half-size rear-hinged doors, while Crew Cabs use regular doors. All Frontiers boast storage versatility with rear seats that flip up to create open space and a front passenger seat that folds flat to become an impromptu workstation. Cloth is the standard seat material, with leather available. Lumbar support in higher trims improves driver comfort. We wish the steering wheel would telescope and not just tilt.Exterior
With its raised fender flares and blocky design, the Frontier has a familiar family resemblance to Nissan's Xterra SUV and Titan full-size truck. Unlike the mammoth Titan, the smaller Frontier has a sportier, more athletic attitude. King Cab and Crew Cab models have the same overall length of 205.5 inches. A long bed is available in Crew Cabs, giving them the same 73.3-inch size of those found on King Cab models. PRO-4X models have multiple skidplates to protect vital parts from nature's jabs. Top-line Crew Cab SL trims have tubular roof rails similar to those on the Xterra.
Except for base S King Cab models with a manual transmission, most 2014 Nissan Frontiers are reasonably well equipped. The base S with an automatic includes air conditioning, cruise control, an AM/FM/CD stereo and Bluetooth. Stepping up to SV trim adds features like power windows and mirrors as well as a USB-equipped audio system with color display. PRO-4X models have 4-wheel drive standard and a locking differential. The Crew Cab SL brings leather seats, Rockford Fosgate premium audio and the NissanConnect system. Frontier King Cab models come with a 4- or 6-cylinder engine, while all Crew Cab models exclusively use the V6.
Most convenience and performance features are tied to varying trim levels of the Frontier, but some packages are available. Among them is a Preferred Package for King Cab S models that adds the much-needed AM/FM/CD player and air conditioning. Higher-trim models can add features such as the Utili-track tie-down system, a rearview monitor, a tow hitch, navigation, Bluetooth wireless streaming and Pandora radio. Crew Cab models can substitute their roughly 5-foot-long bed for one that's just over six feet like those in King Cab models. Accessories include a bedliner, step rails and even a dome tent for the truck bed.
Two engines are offered in the 2014 Nissan Frontier: a 4-cylinder that's available in rear-wheel-drive (2WD) King Cab models, or a more powerful V6 offered in all Crew Cab models and higher trims of the King Cab. Transmission choices include 5-speed and 6-speed manuals or a 5-speed automatic. Even 4-cylinder models have a respectable tow rating of 3,500 pounds, and rear-wheel-drive V6 models can tow up to 6,500 pounds. All 2014 Nissan Frontiers run on regular unleaded gasoline. The Frontier's fuel economy is rated at only up to 23 mpg for 4-cylinder models or 22 mpg for V6 versions.
152 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/23 mpg (2WD, manual), 17/23 mpg (2WD, automatic)
261 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
281 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg (2WD, manual), 16/22 mpg (2WD, automatic), 16/21 mpg (4WD, manual), 15/21 mpg (4WD, automatic)
The 2014 Nissan Frontier has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $19,000 for an S trim King Cab with a manual transmission. At the other end of the spectrum, a 4WD Frontier Crew Cab SL starts close to $35,000. The Toyota Tacoma's base price is a few hundred less than the Frontier's and provides more standard features but less interior room. Roomier versions of the Tacoma with rear seating are comparable in price to similarly equipped Frontiers. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price below to see what others in your area are paying for the 2014 Nissan Frontier. In the battle for resale value, the Nissan holds its own, but isn't as high as that of the Toyota in this 2-horse race.
By Jettboy77 on Friday, March 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value Looks very Stylish and Sexy Grille"
Cons: "4cyl is lacking power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great truck I bought used in 2010 from dealer only 200 orig miles owner apparently passed away and truck was returned to dealer. I paid $12,999 plus $1100 extra for 10/100,000 warranty. The vehicle has been a wonderful ad to my family! It has stylish good looks and have had no major mechanical issues or fails. Still looks brand new just put new Goodyear tires on and it rides so smooth like a luxury sedan. The only issue is the lack of engine power on the 4cyl need to downshift for freeway passing power. I plan on keeping the truck for a very long time however when that time comes for a replacement I will get a new Frontier with a V6. Great Truck !!!!"
By madman1158 on Sunday, March 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price and great to drive"
Cons: "needs a little maintenance"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Great pick up truck for work or play asking 11500-12000 for it. Needs a little maintenance but overall great. You can fit 4 inside with comfort. Cab has the hidden hinges for easy access to the back seats."
By Aaron on Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Off road, MPG, power and reliability!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought the 2012 pro 4x brand new. I have owned 08 07 and 04 other makes trucks but have found this truck has everything I have ever wanted. I have 6 speed manual transmission. I have taken this truck hunting in the mountains through some of the harshest roads(or should I say goat trails) imaginable. My GPS told me to take a road to get to my hunting spot as the closest path. Needless to say, I found my way on to a goat path about 5' wide and steep cliff on the side. It took me about 3 hours to go 7 miles but was astonished my truck made it as well as with me in it. By the time I realized that my GPS was wrong, I could not turn around and made the decision to not back up because I had gone so far already. I just kept telling myself it was only going to get better, but only got worse. The stock pro 4x got me out and can now share my story. I have never been that scared in a vehicle ever. And I live in Idaho. This truck gives me 19 MPG in town and couldn't ask for a more reliable truck. I push the limits during hunting season and this truck allows me to make it back. I agree with Nissan stating this truck is superb in the off road department. Best truck and I will never get rid of it."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Elvis on Saturday, February 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power, comfort, conveniences, decent fuel mileage"
Cons: "crazy bright odometer and 4x4 indicator lights"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this truck used. It drives nice. Power for towing a small boat is excellent and my actual calculated fuel mileage is better than expected. Right now around is an average of 18.4 and I often get 21-22 on the freeway. I get over 20 mpg on the freeway towing my boat at 65-70 mph."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Dan on Thursday, January 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun, powerful, will last a long time"
Cons: "none so far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"truck has got lots of snappy power and super fun to go run around in the woods. my check engine light does keep coming on, but i have been told as long as its not blinking its nothing serious. Also a down side is its a short bed so makes taking dirt bikes out."
By South Bend Mike on Wednesday, January 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very affordably priced"
Cons: "Nissan is disinterested once the purchase is made"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"After 40K miles, lots of squeks, rattles, road noise is really loud, harsh ride, worst sound system I've heard since the old days of the AM only mono radios. Probably the most dissatisfying part of the experience is dealing with Nissan's "customer care" department. Had an issue with a heater fan and waited for over three weeks for a replacement part... for a new vehicle. Absolutely unacceptable. My purchase came down between this Frontier and a Tacoma. Made the wrong choice on this one."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful